Friday, September 18, 2009

Why Psychiatry is a Wonderful Medical Specialty

Dear Medical Student:
This is why you should become a psychiatrist. It's a wonderful career with lots of flexibility and you can pursue a broad range of interests. You love people and their stories? You love feeling helpful in their lives in an integral way? Then psychiatry's for you. What better then being there when a seriously depressed person feels better and gets their life back? You hate people, can't stand complainers, and would like to isolate yourself? Ah, psychiatry has so many unanswered questions and can let you flow in so many different directions: find a lab and isolate genes or look at brain scans or receptors....there's lots of room in the field for basic researchers. You're something in between? Psychiatrists have medication practices, or psychotherapy practices (most have a little of both), they teach, they are administrators (some never go near a patient) they can work with inpatients or outpatients or in residential settings. They can work in jails or with the courts. They write, they have blogs! They work for themselves (I never fight with my boss) or as part of large academic or government institutions. They work with patients with medical illnesses (on transplant teams, in oncology and HIV centers, as consult-liason docs in the general hospital). You can find a job where all you do are evaluations and you never see the same person twice or you can be a psychoanalyst and see one person five times a week.
It's as medical or non-medical, researchy or non-researchy, and people-centered as you want it to be. And you can do pieces of a variety of different things. What could be better?

No big bucks-- sorry.